From USC to NYC: Mark Sanchez

Jerry FrasierContributor IApril 27, 2009

Coming out of the draft some of the biggest questions are going to the New York Jets. The Jets traded up in the draft to select Mark Sanchez with the number five pick. The questions are who will start?  Will Sanchez handle the pressure? Will the Jets win this season?

After selecting Sanchez with the fifth pick in the draft, they are sure to give him up  to a 20 million dollar contract. The Jets are hoping it will be worth it, but some experts believe this is a great pick, while others don’t see him being great in the NFL.

Mark Sanchez passed for 3,965 yards and 41 touchdowns in his career at USC, most of it coming from the 2008 season. In 2008 Sanchez had a QB rating of 164.64, 3,207 yards, and 34 touchdowns.  These stats are completely comparable to the number one overall pick Matthew Stafford who threw for only 252 yards more than Sanchez, 9 less touchdowns, and 10 less QB rating points.

The difference between the two top five picks is experience.

Both quarterbacks left their schools in their junior year, but Stafford has started since being a freshman.  Sanchez has started only 16 games while Stafford has started 39 games in their careers. This lack of experience at the collegiate level could carry over into the NFL.

One thing that can help Sanchez with his inexperience is the Jets great defense and running back unit. The defense can hold other offensives of the board, while they have a great group of backs to open up the passing game. Thomas Jones (pending his return to the team), Leon Washington, and Shonn Greene will be heavily depended on in the Jets offense this year.

One thing the Jets don’t have to worry about is Sanchez’s ability to play in the big time. Sanchez played great in this seasons Rose Bowl, one of the biggest stages at the college level. He also played for the most hype up college in the NCAA. USC is the New York Yankees of college football. They are the biggest team in college football.

Sanchez should get a chance to start this season, and more than likely he will be the starting the season as the No.1 quarterback.

Sanchez could be compared to last season’s Matt Ryan who led the Falcons to the playoffs and Joe Flacco who led the Ravens to the playoffs and became the first rookie, of the draft class, to win a playoff game.  Sanchez does come into a good position. He has a great group of backs to open up the passing game for him and a good defense that could make up for his rookie mistakes.

All in all Sanchez seems to be a good pick for the Jets in this year’s draft. He could step up and lead them into the playoffs, something that Brett Farve couldn’t do last season. He should have a good season, but if this lack of experience affects him he and the team could be in for a harsh season.